The Pros And Cons Of Prison Rates

888 Words 4 Pages
With a total prison population of 2,217,000 people as of 2013, the United States continues to have the highest prison rate in the world (Institute for Criminal Policy Research). In light of these numbers, it is clear to many that the United States is in need of some kind of reform in the way it responds to crime and carries out justice, however, there is much disagreement on what aspects of our criminal policies need to be reformed and in what way. Many factors play a role in the enormous prison rates in the United States, however, some of these factors raise concerns not only about the prison populations, but also bring up questions regarding economics, ethics, and the overall effectiveness of the United State’s current criminal justice policies. …show more content…
This is achieved by requiring judges to sentence anyone convicted of specific crimes with no less than the predetermined minimum amount of time in prison, regardless of circumstance. Minimum sentences can range from thirty days to life in prison, depending on the crime committed; however, it is highly controversial whether or not the minimums are always proportionate to the crime (U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Provision).
Mandatory minimums have been placed on a variety of offences including certain gun and weapon related crimes, sex crimes, identity theft, as well as many others. One of the most common examples of mandatory minimums, and possibly the most highly debated, are mandatory minimums set on drug related crimes, for example, being caught with 1gm of LSD or 100 marijuana plants could mean a minimum of five years in prison (U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Provision). Severe punishments like these are subject to much controversy especially when the crimes committed do not involve
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According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence “at the most intense levels of drug use, drugs and crime are directly and highly correlated and serious drug use can amplify and perpetuate preexisting criminal activity”. Taking this into consideration, it is not hard to understand why so many people are in support of more severe sentences in response to drug related crimes. While the effectiveness of the use of mandatory minimums to reduce drug related crimes is questionable, supporters of mandatory minimums make some compelling arguments that apply to all mandatory minimums not just those set on drug

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